UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are recognized. UNICEF, along with its partners, works in 191 countries to remove the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination place on a child’s path to adulthood. UNICEF advocates for measures that give children the best start in their lives. UNICEF upholds the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has inspired many countries to make fundamental changes designed to improve the lives of children. Its work also contributes to the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. UNICEF works to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.
At a global level, UNICEF is the world’s leading advocate for children. At the grassroots level, it works with a variety of partners to improve child well-being and to provide all boys and girls with the chance to reach their full potential. While much of UNICEF’s work is concerned with meeting children’s basic needs in the poorest parts of the world, often in emergency conditions, it has a strong presence on the ground in all 190 member countries.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary funds. Two-thirds of its funding comes from governments, and the remainder is raised from private groups and individual donors, by UNICEF’s National Committees. There are 36 National Committees for UNICEF in developed countries. These non-governmental organizations promote children’s rights, generate partnerships, collect donations and sell UNICEF greeting cards and products.
UNICEF’s work is supervised by a 36-member Executive Board made up of government representatives. This board establishes policies, approves programmes, and decides on administrative and financial plans and budgets. The members of the Board are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
UNICEF’s global priorities are:
· To ensure that all children survive infancy and receive proper early childhood care, including health care, nutrition and a supportive environment for their emotional and cognitive development;
· To ensure that all children, including girls, complete primary education, fulfilling their rights, forming a basis for gender equality in society, and ensuring that the children of the future have educated mothers;
· To protect all children and adolescents from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse by involving everyone in creating protective environments for children;
· To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people and to help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity;
· To generate evidence, leverage resources and build partnerships for children’s rights, and to give boys and girls the maximum opportunity to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
· Within this overall framework, UNICEF’s priorities, and the strategies which it uses to achieve its goals, may vary from country to country depending on the issues facing children and the resources available.
· In all countries, UNICEF shows a special concern for those children who belong to the most vulnerable social groups or who find themselves in the most difficult circumstances, including children who face discrimination or social exclusion.